How to outsource on a tight budget

smart-725843_640If you’re running a part-time business, you’ll be very short of time. You can automate a few  tasks, but the only real way to buy more time is to get help from other people.

The problem is that you can’t outsource work unless you’ve got the money to pay for it. You need the time to earn money, but you can’t get that time until you’ve got someone else working for you!  It’s a vicious circle.

Here are three ways to break that circle… [Read more…]

Getting the best deal on office supplies when you work at home

Work at home businesses are usually run on a shoestring, so if there’s a way to save money on business expenses we’re all over it!

If you spend most of your time at a computer, you might think you don’t spend much on office supplies because you don’t get through much stationary. But office supplies include things like printer cartridges, laminators, calculators, mobile phone accessories and many other things you need to get your work done. And all that can add up over time.

So here are some tips for getting the best deal on office supplies when you run a work at home business:

Bulk savings

True, you can’t buy huge packs of envelopes the way a much larger business would, but with a little planning you may find you can save, even if that’s just on postage. Providing you’ve got the space to store supplies, you could buy (say) a year’s worth of printer paper in one go. You could even get together with another home worker, buy in bulk and then split the cost and the items between you. [Read more…]

I started a business with a family: Rhys Davies of Your Jigsaw Puzzles

Tell us a little about your business…

YourJigsawPuzzles is an online retailer of… you guessed it… jigsaw puzzles. We started the business in early 2012 with no outside funding or bank loans. We are a purely family-run business.

What was your job before starting your business?

I’ve actually been self-employed and run multiple businesses since I was 14.

I left school at a very young age knowing that for me personally, I was never going to need to learn history, foreign languages etc. I was born to be in business. I grew up around hard-working family members who had their own businesses so a work ethic has been instilled in me from day one.

The websites I’ve run vary from simple automated content sites all the way up working with movie companies to promote their viral movie trailers. Ecommerce is where I’ve settled and I love this new chapter in my business. [Read more…]

3 reasons why you’re not outsourcing your money stuff (and what to do about it)

The tasks that most small business hate the most tend to be the ones around money: keeping the books, staying on top of which taxes you need to be paying (and when) and paying people who work for you. It’s time-consuming work, especially if you hate doing it or aren’t skilled or experienced in this kind of work. It could be a very wise move to get yourself an accountant, bookkeeper or use a payroll company, (such as Moorepay, linked to here) yet many small business owners struggle on alone.

If that sounds familiar, here are three reasons why you’re not outsourcing these tasks and what to do about them:

1. How do I know I can trust them?

Although it may sound wonderful to be able to hand all that bookkeeping to someone else, there’s always the nagging worry that they’ll rip you off, behave in a fraudulent way or just do a bad job and get you into trouble with the people who collect tax in your country.

So what can you do to reassure yourself that you’ve got a professional you can trust? You can meet them or at least talk to them on the phone if they are not near you. Remember to check out any qualifications, credentials and membership of professional bodies. Do they have experience of working with small businesses like yours? Then check out testimonials, or better still ask around the people you know to see if they can recommend a service provider to you.

2. But my books are a mess!

An accountant friend of mine told me how some of her clients came to her once a year with a carrier bag of receipts. That was the full extent of their bookkeeping! These professionals are used to people who don’t understand accounts, that’s their job. It may cost you more if you give them messy records to sort out – after all there’s more work involved that way – but that shouldn’t stop you from getting help if you need it.

3. It’s too expensive

You may be surprised how inexpensive bookkeeping and payroll outsourcing can be, especially when you think about how long it would take you to struggle through it yourself each month. A professional could easily have the job done in the third of the time you could.

Accountants do appear to cost more, but on the other hand a good accountant should actually save you money because she will point out more tax-efficient ways of running your business that could save you thousands. If you’re starting out and seriously strapped for cash, some accountants reduce your fees in the first few months for start-ups, so it’s always asking that question. Most small business accountants allow you to pay monthly which spreads their fee over the year rather than hitting you in one go.

So I hope I’ve exploded most of the reasons why you’re not freeing up more of your valuable time!

Can you think of any other reasons why you’re still handling all the money stuff yourself?

Image courtesy of photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How to stick to your goals when January is long gone

You can’t go anywhere in January without hearing about how you should be setting goals for the year. But as we enter the second quarter of 2013, your goals may be long forgotten. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. You can set and achieve goals at any time of the year.

One place where I’ve made a big step forward this year is in joining a mastermind group. Once a week I get together with three other online business owners and we work through our challenges, plus what we want to achieve. It’s a lot harder to wriggle out of a goal when you know you have to report back to three other people each week! If you haven’t tried a mastermind group I really recommend setting one up.

Here are some more tips to help you set goals and stick to them:

1. Be realistic

Do you set large and totally unrealistic goals? Or maybe you don’t set goals at all? Perhaps the goals are so small that they don’t help you accomplish anything? When creating your goals, take the time to make sure they’re realistic.

For example, if you have a goal to write an e-book to promote your business, make sure you give yourself enough time to get the job done. Trying to complete the report in a single day may be biting off more than you can chew. Instead, a two-week goal writing two or three pages a day may be more realistic.

2. Leave time for things to go wrong

One common mistake is to push your schedule to the deadline. Inevitably something will happen to get in you’re way, especially when you’re working around a family. So don’t save that e-book until the last minute. Your internet will drop out, your four-year-old will wake up with a stomach ache or your car will break down and you’ll have to wait for the AA. Make sure you schedule your days so that your project is completed on or before you need it.

3. Learn your triggers

Everyone has a few triggers that prevent them from being as productive as they’d like to be. Maybe you are easily distracted by Facebook or do you get caught up in email or daytime talk shows?

Learn your triggers and then create systems to manage them. For example, if you get caught up in Facebook, block the site on your computer during your productive working hours. If you enjoy watching daytime television, structure your work hours around your favourite shows and don’t turn on the TV until you’ve accomplished your set tasks for the day.

Finally, make time to relax and celebrate your successes. Taking time off from being productive is just as important as setting and achieving your goals. In fact, it may be more important. When you allow yourself to step away from your goals and your business, you’re able to return to them renewed and refreshed. It helps you maintain focus and a positive attitude.

Once you learn how to identify triggers and set realistic goals, you’ll find that you’re able to accomplish much more in less time. There’s satisfaction in that. There are profits and business growth too.

Don’t miss a thing here at Business Plus Baby   Click here to get my newsletter and  I’ll also send you a copy of  my e-book Running a business around a family: 9 steps to success.

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